Clutch free throws aid Panthers in OT victory
While a state tournament berth did not hang in the balance — this time — the Panorama girls basketball team was plenty motivated against visiting Van Meter in a battle of Class 2-A state-ranked teams in Panora on Friday night, January 27.
The eighth-ranked Panthers got a pair of free throws from sophomore Bailey Beckman, who was 8 of 8 from the line, to force overtime, and the Panthers sizzled from the charity stripe in the extra four-minute stanza, and held off the West Central Conference foes to net an exciting 50-44 victory.
It was the second straight game between the squads to go overtime in four days -- the Panthers won 59-51 January 23 in Van Meter. The two teams could meet a third time this season as both have been placed in the Region 4 bracket by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. If both continue to advance, they would meet in a regional final, with a trip to the state tournament on the line, Monday, February 20 in Waukee.
Panorama opens regional play on Tuesday, February 14 in Panora and awaits the winner of Fort Dodge St. Edmond and Eagle Grove. On the bottom half of their bracket is Interstate 35, West Central Valley and Ogden.
Van Meter opens at home on Tuesday, February 14 against the winner of Woodward-Granger and South Hamilton. In the top half of their bracket is Madrid, Earlham and Des Moines Christian.
“We made the right passes, got rebounds, and played good defense at the end of the game,” Panorama head coach Dan Druivenga said of his team’s ability to pull out the victory Friday. “I was proud of how the girls stayed composed at the end of the game when we were down.”
The game was tight throughout as Van Meter led 13-10 after the first quarter and 21-19 at halftime, and the Bulldogs took a 28-22 lead after three quarters before the Panthers used a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to take a 36-33 lead. Beckman splashed a triple, Devyn Kemble hit a pair of free throws and Hope Wilderman and Faith Powell both added baskets in that run.
The key for Panorama was its work at the charity stripe as the Panthers were 17-of-23 (74 percent) -- including 6-of-8 in the fourth quarter and 6-of-6 in the extra frame. Van Meter, by comparison, netted 7-of-17 (41 percent) attempts. Bailey Beckman paced Panorama with a 23-point effort, while Devyn Kemble added nine; Morgan Johnk eight; and Faith Powell seven.
CJ Jones led the balanced Bulldog attack with 13 points, while Mackenzie Roberts and Emily Roberts each netted nine.
While Panorama relied on its free-throw shooting to ultimately notch the win, the Panthers were also tough on the boards, out-rebounding a tall and athletic Van Meter squad, 36 to 27. Morgan Johnk pulled down 11, while Nicole Rolfes grabbed six and Powell five.
The fourth quarter saw four lead changes -- the last of which came when CJ Jones swished a pair of free throws to put Van Meter up 40-36 with 34.8 seconds remaining. But Beckman continued to find herself at the foul line. She swished a pair of shots to pull the Panthers within 40-38 with 28.4 to play.
On the other end, Mackenzie Roberts, who went 1-of-7 at the free throw line, missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Panorama called a timeout with the ball and 18.6 seconds to play. Following a broken play, Beckman was fouled and again calmly hit both free throws in the final 3.7 seconds to force overtime.
The Panthers then found themselves down three early in the extra period, but after an offensive rebound putback by Kemble and a steal and layup by Beckman, the Panthers knotted things at 44 and never looked back, hitting 6-of-6 from the foul line over the next minute and 21 seconds to seal the victory.